Newly crowned super middleweight world titleholder George Groves became the first fighter to enter the forthcoming eight-man World Boxing Super Series tournament at 168 pounds, organizers announced on Friday.
“I see the World Boxing Super Series as a chance for me to show everyone that I’m the best in the division,” Groves said. “I believe I am the best super middleweight on the planet and certainly the man to beat at 168 pounds. I am proud to bring my WBA super middleweight title to the tournament. I want to continue to test myself against the best, and I am ready and willing to fight anyone. It will be exciting to see who else has the courage to enter such a brutal competition.”
In March, promotion group Comosa AG announced plans for two eight-man single-elimination tournaments in which 16 fighters will divvy up $50 million in prize money, with the winner of each tournament also receiving the Muhammad Ali Trophy. Comosa AG enlisted promoters Richard Schaefer and Kalle Sauerland, Groves’ promoter, to market the cards and decided that the first two tournaments will take place in the cruiserweight and super middleweight divisions.
The tournaments are supposed to kick off in September with quarterfinal matches in each weight class, with the semifinals taking place in early 2018 and the finals scheduled for May 2018.
“The World Boxing Super Series is exactly what fighters and fans need — a simple and straightforward way to determine the best fighter in the division,” Groves said. “I am really keen to be the first super middleweight to lift the Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
Groves (26-3, 19 KOs), 29, of England, won a vacant super middleweight world title on May 27, knocking out former titlist Fedor Chudinov in the sixth round in Sheffield, England, on the Kell Brook-Errol Spence Jr. undercard.
The rest of the field still needs to be filled in. The draw for each tournament is supposed to take place in July in Monte Carlo, Monaco. In each weight class, the four top seeds will select their quarterfinal opponents from the four unseeded boxers on a live TV show.
Schaefer said he was pleased to have Groves enter the field.
“There is never a dull moment in his fights, and that is what makes him a standout participant of the inaugural season of the World Boxing Super Series,” Schaefer said. “George will now face the challenge of going from the hunter to the hunted. This will be really intriguing considering the lineup we will announce.”
Earlier this month, the first three cruiserweight entrants were announced: world titleholders Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) and Mairis Briedis (22-0, 18 KOs) as well as former titleholder Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KOs).